Down Memory Lane for Feb. 26

Feb. 6, 1975

Delegate D. French Slaughter Jr. has announced the appointment of Douglas K. Baumgardner of Washington as his administrative assistant for the current session of the General Assembly. Baumgardner, a 1973 graduate of Virginia Military Institute and a second year law student at the University of Virginia, will be employed by Slaughter on a part-time basis in his Richmond office. In making the announcement, Slaughter stated that he was glad to have the assistance of Doug Baumgardner, “who is very capable young man who has shown a keen interest in state government.”

Kathy E. Dwyer, 1975 DAR Good Citizen of Rappahannock County High School, received her certificate and accompanying pin from Mrs. Biedler Settle of the Culpeper Minute Men Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Miss Dwyer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James S. Dwyer of Sperryville, was selected by her classmates and the faculty of her school for “outstanding qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.” She has won several awards in art, creative writing, sports and physical fitness. She hopes to attend Mary Washington or Eastern Mennonite College.

Beverly Ilene Reid, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Murphy J. Reid of Castleton, has been named to the Dean’s List at Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music at Winchester with a grade point average of 3.44 out of a possible 4.00. A graduate of Rappahannock County High School, Miss Reid is studying for the Liberal Arts degree majoring in English. This is the first time she has been named to this honor.

Oct. 27, 1983  

On Arbor Day 30 years ago, interested citizens of the town of Washington planted the first dogwood tree on the courthouse grounds. The group included Virginia Slaughter, Ada Updike, Shack Hunter, Lewis Turner, Jim Lillard, Etta B. Miller and Hunt Hitt.

For three separate terms totaling 28 years, George H. Davis Jr. was Commonwealth’s Attorney for Rappahannock. His first term was interrupted by war service; his second came about on the death of Botts Strother in 1946, and his third extended from 1960 to 1979, 19 years that saw the county develop zoning and subdivision ordinances, integrate peacefully and weather changes greater than any in its first century and a quarter. He died after two years of retirement in which he tried to separate himself from his long career as Rappahannock’s prosecutor, fishing and visiting after almost three decades of being on call night and day to nudge the wheels of justice.

Serving as sheriff both in the days of the justices of the peace in Rappahannock and under the trial justice system, Sheriff Hubert Keyser held that office from 1919 to 1941. “He was a man with common sense,” remembers Aubrey Keyser. “He never carried a gun and he was never overpowered.”

There was a jail break once, while Ed Smith was the jailer. Six or seven men were confined, having broken into the post office at Slate Mills. “They only had stolen a very little bit, “said Keyser, “but it was a federal offense, and a felony, so they were in jail awaiting trial.”

Ed Smith was a blacksmith as well as a jailer. Somehow, perhaps while they were working around the jail yard, one of the prisoners got a brace and bit from Smith’s shop and all of them escaped.

“I tracked one down to Scrabble, where his family lived, “said Keyser. “It was winter, it was cold as can be. When the family saw me coming, the boy went out an upstairs window and out on the roof. It was that big house on a bank in Scrabble and the wind was blowing up that hill and it was freezing. I knew he was out there, with just his shirt on.

“Well, I waited. I knew he was there. After a while he appeared at the window, shivering and begging me to let him in. So I took him back to jail.”

Oct. 20, 1993

The intersection at Main and Middle streets was the subject of heated debate at Wednesday’s Town Council meeting. The debate began when council member Newbill Miller said, during consideration of the minutes from the September meeting, that during the public forum portion of the meeting he had “voiced opposition to the four-way stop at the post office and reducing the curve on business 211.”

At a meeting last spring council voted to change the intersection, creating a four-way stop and making the turn from Main Street to Middle Street past the Trinity Episcopal Church parking lot sharper. Over the years that has been made a gradual curve by taking land from the church parking lot.

Townspeople who live  in the area, particularly those who live along Main Street past that intersection have expressed concern about speeding. The stop signs and sharper turn were planned to reduce that speeding.

Mr. Miller said he believes the measures make the intersection “less safe” by “impeding traffic.”

Virginia State Trooper Gary Settle has been promoted to sergeant and will be transferred to the Dublin office in Pulaski County. He will begin his new duties on Nov. 1. A member of the second division tactical team, he has been a state trooper since July 1986. He is married to Kelly Gilkey Settle of Sperryville.

Spring Mountain School is the best kept secret in Rappahannock County, claims Jan Makela of Amissville. Her son Josh, 4, is enrolled in the nursery there. “Josh can’t wait to go to school in the morning. “He has no separation anxiety at all. I have found Spring Mountain School to be a very warm and nurturing place.” Spring Mountain School was started as a playgroup in the home of Bethany and Arthur Craig in Sperryville in the spring of 1991.

You will find no textbooks in this school. Students construct their own workbooks, interspersed with art. The act of putting together the workbook is just as much a learning experience as the studying of it later on in the classroom, according to Paige Noel, who teaches the older children.